Genpei Akasegawa, ‘Magirawashisa Chosa-hyo’, 1966, SCAI The Bathhouse

About Genpei Akasegawa

A major figure in the 1960s Japanese avant-garde, Genpei Akasegawa is best known for his trademark bundled objects wrapped in rope or fabricated 100-yen-notes. Akasegawa created fake banknotes in 1963, using them as gallery invitations and packaging for familiar objects—such as One-Thousand-Yen Note Trial Impound Object: Mask (1963)—raising questions of art’s value and authorship, and prompting the artist’s legal trial in 1966. Akasegawa also explored ideas of subjectivity and the body in works such as Homology (1964), two plaster torsos with a glass tube running between their legs, and produced photography and Manga cartoons. Along with the artists Jiro Takamatsu and Natsuyuki Nakanishi he founded the Hi-Red Center, a Neo-Dadaist avant-garde installation and performance group concerned with social engagement and issues of mass consumption. The group produced posters and organized anti-institutional gestures and ephemeral performances around Tokyo, one of which was attended by Yoko Ono and Nam June Paik.

Japanese, 1937-2014